The Arts Contribute to our Economic Strength

The economic impact of the arts and our creative resources is far greater than the employment or economic multipliers our creative industries generate. The arts attract people to live and work in our Province, reduce turnover for employers, and contribute to the stability of our workforce. The arts also help create cross-cultural understanding that improves workplace and customer relationships and contributes to more successful enterprise.

When we think of famous travel destinations, we think about the vibrancy and significance of their arts, culture and heritage. Cultural tourists spend more per day, stay longer at a destination and use more commercial accommodation. Cultural Tourism is growing globally at an annual rate of 15%.

The creative economy is leading the growth of all economic sectors in British Columbia. Between 1991 and 2001, people employed in the arts grew by 57% in Vancouver, more than five times the 10% overall growth of the labour force.

Communities in British Columbia, including Kelowna, Nelson and Langley, have developed strategic plans that use the creative arts to drive their economies and the social health of their communities. Chemainus with its world-famous murals and theatre has successfully replaced a resource-based economy with an arts-based economy.

Increased arts and cultural activity is key to attracting gifted professionals. Alcan says that cultural life and amenities in towns like Kitimat, where the company is planning a $1.8 billion upgrade of its smelting operations, are crucial factors in attracting talented people, jobs and investment.

Our creative industries need creative people. Creative people are attracted by opportunities to engage in and experience the arts and the creative expression of others.

Presentation to the British Columbia Government
September 2007